A Summit Scenario

The summit meeting between the United States and the People’s Republic of North Korea is set to kick off in less than an hour. Rather than listen to the talking heads jabber about it, I figured I would do a reading using my “Enemy at the Gate” vulnerability spread to see which side comes away with more than bad press. I used my favorite sociopolitical deck, Brian Williams’ Post-Modern (PoMo) Tarot, with the Thoth for the “Opportunity” card (aka Significator) and the three quintessence cards. I chose the Wheel of Fortune to show what is at stake in this meeting (essentially, it’s a “crap shoot”).


All images © U.S. Games Systems, Inc, Stamford, CT and Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY

Before pulling the cards, I selected the top line to represent the USA and the bottom line to reflect the PRNK. The Sun (“Day”) reversed in the “Strength” position shows that the USA needs to throttle back on its bravado to avoid overplaying its hand. The PRNK’s Strength card needs no introduction; it’s the Fool (“Idiot”). It has me thinking “dumb like a fox.”

The “Weakness” position is a toss-up. The USA has the Page of Cups reversed while the PRNK has the Queen of Cups. There is a possibility that the USA will put on a show of leadership that fools no-one, and may be more naive than wise during the negotiations. For its part, the PRNK may be overly patient and slow to capitalize on this gaffe. With everyone “making nice” (or seeming to), nobody would be counting coup and keeping score.

The “Edge” position for the USA is the 6 of TVs (Swords), while the PRNK has the 6 of Guns (Wands). The USA has reason on its side, but the PRNK has the “nuclear option.” Neither party appears to be off-balance going in, so I expect some moralistic finger-wagging on one side and more than a little pugnacious swagger on the other..

The “Allies” position shows that, with the Devil (“Evil”) reversed.  the USA can’t count on its friends to back them up. The 10 of Swords for the PRNK suggests that they are also courting the displeasure of their international advocates. Both cards convey the idea of back-stabbing. This adventure has a “go it alone” feeling to it for both parties.

The sub-quint cards predict Lust (PRNK) riding roughshod over the hapless Hanged Man reversed (USA).  I sometimes see the reversed Hanged Man as being in a more favorable position than its upright version because the figure is reascending into the light rather than sinking further into the depths. But here it sticks its head out of the foxhole at just the wrong moment, and the PRNK is riding the lawnmower.

The Magus reversed as the “Grand Quint” gives me the distinct impression that very little will change as a result of this initiative. This is a card of willpower and finesse when upright, but reversal implies the common sleight-of-hand stage magician rather than the skilled adept.  Cheap shots and petty maneuvering rather than masterful strokes of diplomacy could be the order of the day. With all of the reversed cards in its line, the USA’a agenda seems oblique and unpredictable, as if there is more to it than meets the eye. In the TdM deck, much has been made of the fact that the performer is looking away from the audience as if trying to distract its attention from what is happening with the items on the table. The reversal of the Magus here gives me the same feeling, and looks more like a tool of the USA’s back-room arm-twisting than of the PRNK’s negotiating prowess.

In short, I don’t expect any thrilling breakthroughs as a result of this historic meeting. Lots of fanfare and handshaking but, like Omar Khayyam, the participants will come “out by the same door where in (they) went.”

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